Banksy painting 'self-destructs' after selling for $1.4M

The artwork was shredded moment after going under the hammer for $1.7m

Onlookers gasped and laughed after the bottom half of "Girl with Balloon", one of Banksy's best-known works, was sucked into a shredder hidden in its frame as the hammer fell, auction house Sotheby's said. "It's become worth more as a conceptual moment than as a work of art itself".

Friday's self-destruction was the latest in a long history of anti-establishment statements by the street artist.

WHILE a packed room full of art lovers watched the bidding climb for the coveted piece Girl With Balloon, it seems its famed but mysterious artist was watching on too.

While Banksy's stunt involved destroying the classic artwork using a remote device, this person reportedly took a stanley knife to the expensive piece - which is apparently one of just 600 mint condition prints in the world.

A work by the elusive street artist self-destructed in front of startled auction-goers on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 moments after being sold for 1.04 million pounds ($1.4 million). He called Banksy's prank "a turning point in the history of contemporary and conceptual art".

He also has a penchant for elaborate pranks.

In 2005, he secretly hung on a wall at the British Museum a piece depicting a prehistoric human pushing a shopping cart.

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In 2010, the documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop premiered and was a global sensation, earning an Oscar nomination and placing further pressure on Banksy's anonymity. "The shredding is now part of the integral artwork".

Some of have even claimed to have caught Banksy on camera after he had finished his work.

The artwork was signed and dedicated and the vendor acquired it from the artist in 2006, the auction house said.

"He really ramped it up in a spectacular way. It's kind of refreshing to see this destruction of contrived value".

The auctioneer's hurried attempts to bring the shocked spectators' attention back to the block led some to suggest that Sotheby's employees were in on the scheme.

The incident spurred questions about how Banksy had pulled it off and whether he had been at the auction in disguise.

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